Looper's Delight Archive Top (Search)
Date Index
Thread Index
Author Index
Looper's Delight Home
Mailing List Info

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: [Fwd: Re: Can I have your feedback?]

Here's the trick, Kay'lon;

Never let critiques get under your skin.  Take what makes sense and use it and leave the rest in the dust... or maybe for later.

Musician's lives have been totally derailed by small comments, or comments made in the spirit of camaraderie. I know because it happened to me a few times.  Fortunately, I'm good on the rebound and have survived to write this email and do fairly well with music.

I'll never forget the first real pro R&B session I did.  The producer was just cruel, harsh on the folks trying out for parts. "You should quit now. That was the worst playing I've ever heard" etc.  I swear this is true!  I was aghast.  But the crazy thing was, the rejected just picked up their axes and moved on.  

Music is extremely subjective.  I heard your stuff and the irregularity didn't really bother me, but that's just how I roll.  I produce music so tight you couldn't fit tissue paper between the beat and the dotted 64th, but I also do music that is wild and out of control.  In fact, I have a client now who, within one song can rise and fall from 90 BPM to 150 BPM.  Within a measure!  But I've figured out how to make it work and, weirdest of weirds, when it's finished it usually sounds quite pro.   

Every bird in the jungle has an important song. 

The key for you is figuring out what YOUR song is.  When you put it out there, other birds might complain because their song is different.  You have to be strong in who you are and what you love or you'll go crazy... BUT!  ...all the while improving your vision, honing your chops, ever vigilant for stuff that sucks or can be improved.  There isn't a good player on earth who can't improve somewhere.   I've been with some of the real masters and it's amazing how humble and hard working they are.  

Rick is a beautiful man, a stellar human and spectacular drummer.  I hear what he's saying and I hear what you're doing.  

I think a good piece of advice is never ask a drummer what he thinks of your drum tracks because he has that specialized metronome, his own bird song, going inside.  Rick is highly refined and has a vision he's been honing for decades.  Drummers OBSESS on meter.  I have some wild stories about that too. 

I wouldn't worry a lick if he critiqued one of my drum tracks.  I expect that from good drummers.  It's all in the nature of the game.   I can always improve.  I can always learn.  I can always reject someone's valid criticism if it runs counter to the voice inside.  I can also take it in if it seems true to me.  It's a fine line you just learn with time.

I used to internalize this kind of stuff and after 40 some years of playing professionally I've learned to not dwell on the negatives too much.  It can eat you alive.  Never let anything eat you alive but the desire to be the very best Kay'lon on earth! 

My take on your track was that it was extremely organic.  I heard your bird song.  Can it be improved?  Can my music be improved?  Was Jimi Hendrix sloppy sometimes?  Did he go to learn from great players every chance he got? 

Just keep working it, refining the diamond until it's blinding.  

My own bird obsesses on boredom - boring parts, music that puts me to sleep, parts in a song where I yawn or start thinking about something else.  That's my particular bird song and it drives me crazy to hear music that's lazy, too easily self satisfied and doesn't take into consideration the competition, all the amazing stuff that's gone before - regardless of category.  My bird demands that I strive with all I have to be original and present that originality as good as I can (which can always be improved!) 

We're competing with Beethoven, the Beatles, Bartok and Blind Blake.  For me, the challenge is fabulous and keeps me on task.  It keeps me young and alert and I'm 64 years old.

All the answers are inside you.  That's where the last word should come to rest.

All the above is just my opinion.  Don't worry.  Just keep moving forward.

your fellow bird,


(Sorry this was SO long!  I'd just finished a session and read the thread about your stuff, listened and just had to take a solo!!!)

On Jun 8, 2012, at 3:57 PM, kay'lon rushing wrote:

The part that somewhat scares me is that I litterally can't hear the innaccuracy of the drums in the first video. Is it the whole thing or is it just something within the loop?

On Jun 8, 2012 3:19 PM, "Rick Walker" <looppool@cruzio.com> wrote:
On 6/8/12 4:16 AM, Rainer Straschill wrote:
If done by an accomplished musician, I find the combination of the
machine-like (because it's a machine) and accurate human inaccurate
groove really interesting.

I do, too, Rainer.    I remember the first time I ever saw Ultravox play in the 70's.
They had a drummer with a kick, snare, hi hat and ride cymbal (unheard of minimalism in the
world of 70's excess) and he was playing with a Roland CR-78 analogue drum machine.

You could feel his 'humaneness' (re: imperfection) as it related to the perfectly quantized
drum machine (there were only perfectly quantized drum machines in those days.......changeable
quantization wouldn't occur, technologically until the 80's).

I was stunned and have been a fan of drum machines ever since, to this day.

And there is an interesting thing about the interaction of *perfect* timing and *human timing*
in human pattern recognition.

In literature or film they talk about the "reasonable suspension of disbelief"..........you
either buy the premise of a Science Fiction movie or you don't.   It isn't real of course, but
if you can suspend the concept that it's not real, then the experience can seem very real.

This can happen in drum programming as well.
Early on, when the first digitally sampled drum machines came out (the Linn Drum, the EMU Drumulator and others)
Record producers learned that if you played perfectly quantized drum samples in a groove that it felt 'stiff'.
But they quickly learned that they programmed all of the kick, snare and tom parts to be perfectly quantized and then
had a studio drummer come in and play hi hats and cymbals over the top of this,  the listener would
*buy* the results and be fooled into thinking that the entire track was real.

I've found that one can use as little as 10% to 30% non quantized tracks on top of rigidly quantized tracks
and the net result is that the tracks will sound *human*.

Another thing I've discovered is that the faster the BPM of a track and the more complex the track is syncopatively,
(as in Kay'lon's first example track) the more effective it is to use rigid quantization.

You are already asking the brain a lot to *hear* a very syncopated beat (that one is a much longer discussion and is
the basis of the Rhythm Intensive course that I teach to melodic musicians) so if you throw in relative rhythmic inaccuracy
to the mix,  it just makes the whole thing more problematic.

Also, in Kay'lon's particular case,   to quantize those drum beats at the onset of the piece can then enable him
to play with non quantized/human feel on top of the tracks with his initial organ rhythm parts.

To me, it is fascinating that we can convince the brain, unconsciously to have the 'reasonable suspension of disbelief'
through how we loop and how we program.